Within the next decade or two 47 percent of job categories for knowledge workers, that includes: accountancy, legal work, technical writing and a lot of other white-collar professions – could be automated says the findings of a report by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of the University of Oxford. This study titled: THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT: HOW SUSCEPTIBLE ARE JOBS TO COMPUTERISATION? looks into the prospects of over 702 detailed occupations and they provide strong evidence that “wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relation- ship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation” meaning that even if your job is not replaced by computers your salary is going to remain stunted over this period too.

In this paper, Frey and Osborne address the question: how susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Doing so, they build on the existing literature in two ways. First, drawing upon recent advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Mobile Robotics (MR), and, Second, they estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, and examine expected impacts of future computerisation on US labour market outcomes.

We’ve long been tracking this trend in our TIDES of Change model and our suggestion to workers in jobs that are under threat (which includes doctors, lawyers engineers etc.) is this – Focus on the human connection. This is the one thing computers can not do, yet. They can not empathise , they can not show human compassion nor can they build relationship. If you want to remain at the top of your game, focus on the things that are most important to your customers, the relationship and human engagement. My colleague  Graeme Codrington makes an excellent case for this when he recently spoke to a group of professional services people. Here are his key points:

  • You have got to do things computers can not do
  • You can not continue to do things computers do, but with a smile. You will be replaced unless you are doing things computers can’t do
  • We live in a high-tech world, but computers are not so good in a high touch world
  • The things computers can not do is relationships
  • You need efficiency, but that is a given.
  • You have to have the right products and services, that’s a given for competitiveness
  • But if you want to win, the relationships are at the heart of future competitive advantage


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